Nosound is the solo project of talented multi-instrumentalist Giancarlo Erra, who has made himself a name with this Porcupine Tree cover band called Redshift. He has also been in many other bands in various capacities, such as guitar player or producer, but it didn't take him too long to find out he needed his solo medium to express himself best. Thus, Nosound came to life in 2003, for which he quickly cut a promo demo to send out to radio stations, websites, and other artists. The responses were hugely encouraging, so Erra started writing his debut album Sol29 on which he played all the instruments himself (with the exception of bass on three pieces). What's more is, Erra recorded, mixed and produced the album on his own as well. The result is nothing short of astounding to say the least.
As for the music on the album, it is obvious that Erra is a big fan of Steven Wilson and his projects, particularly earlier Porcupine Tree (think The Sky Moves Sideways) and No-Man's more ambient albums. However, the Steven Wilson influence is so heavy that parallels could be drawn from his later works as well, including the Lightbulb Sun and Blackfield albums. Nearly 65 minutes, about half of it is instrumental. Erra lets the music speak, as he is well aware of the fact that his compositions are strong and overflow with creative ideas. As "In the White Air" starts the album off, cracking LP sounds, a languid guitar, and a thick atmosphere capture you (this album is best enjoyed with a good set of head phones). The static drum sound, the slowly-opening keyboard sounds and Erra's whispered (albeit slightly Italian accented) voice will take you to another galaxy. In a word, Nosound's music is beautiful.
There is more acoustic guitar on the following track "Wearing Lies on Your Lips" (great title!), with a nifty bass arpeggio and an elegiac electric guitar. Erra is a first-class guitar player. His playing displays admirable restraint, but it is so expressive and heartfelt that it is impossible to ignore the emotional sphere of his songs. "The Child's Game" is a minimalistic piano instrumental that segues into one of the three ten-minute epics, "The Moment She Knew". It begins with dark organ sounds that echo No-Man's pre-Returning Jesus period, with the focus being on atmosphere rather than jazzy electronica. This is not to say the song isn't jazzy; the ending of the piece boasts atonal jazz segments played vividly on keys that precede the elaborate guitar solo. This song has wonderful guitar swells through and through and is one of the finest cuts on the album.
"Waves of Time" is an entirely instrumental track that stresses atmosphere. It is so ambient yet in a way also creepy because of its evocative flow. The acoustic guitars on "Overloaded" must be a tribute to Porcupine Tree, played so clean and with the less-is-more idea of prog. The remaining songs are longer and more moody. But you'll also hear more vocals on pieces like "The Broken Parts", a track marked by shimmering sound effects; and the definitive Nosound track "Hope for the Future". The guitar solo on this song rivals the best works of Steven Wilson, and Erra's sombre, almost whispered vocals conjure up thoughts of pain and misery. The part where he says "I would smash this starkness with the hope for the future" is most effective. The album's last song, the title track, is very Floydian. Gilmour style acoustics and psychedelic soundscapes culminate in a trance-like state, making you forget you're actually listening to music with pure white noise: no vocals, no chord progressions, no harmonies. Just pure white noise, yet so beautiful and so captivating.
Erra's production is excellent. Though an independent release, the packaging is absolutely stunning as well. Great booklet, great photographs, great lyrics, great everything. It's no wonder why both Steven Wilson and Tim Bowness of No-Man have praised this project. Go to the Nosound website to read their thoughts, or better yet, go listen to the album and make up your own mind.
- In the White Air
- Wearing Lies on Your Lips
- The Child's Game
- The Moment She Knew
- Waves of Time
- The Broken Parts
- Idle End
- Hope for the Future